• Michael Jaye’s Just-So Story

    In a world without oceans, the spires of mighty Mu and Atlantis tower above the abyssal plains—until an icy doom plunges from the sky, and floodwaters deluge the deeps of the Earth.

    No, this is not a trailer for a hackneyed sci-fi movie. It is a self-styled “scientific” proposal that aims to up-end current models in geology, oceanography, evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology, and archaeology, and replace them with…the Truth. It is the brainchild of Michael Jaye, a retired army vet who taught mathematical applications at West Point and later at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, with a PhD from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is also a man with a mission: to correct the grievous error Geology fell into nearly two hundred years ago.

    That error, according to Jaye, began with Adam Sedgwick’s 1831 (partial) recantation of his belief in a worldwide Noachian flood. Since then, it seems, geologists have been indoctrinated into a “no flood, ever” mentality, where they deny, misinterpret, or suppress geological evidence to hide the fact that a global flood indeed took place—only it flooded the empty ocean basins, and not the land. The geologists are, he says, practicing anti-science. In particular, he is dismissive of plate tectonics (there could not possibly be currents or plumes of magma moving under the crust and slowly pushing the plates around) and turbidity currents (formations like the Monterey Canyon must be remnants of subaerial river systems from before the Deluge.) The fact that both those processes are ongoing, observable, and well-supported by multiple lines of evidence does not faze him.

    Here is Jaye’s version: throughout most of its existence, up to about 12,800 years ago, Earth owned only a fraction of its current supply of water, scattered around the globe in insignificant puddles. Sixty-five million years ago, two monstrous impactors (neither of which was the Chicxulub object) struck Earth simultaneously near Australia, tilted the axis to its present angle, and sent the continents skittering about like leaves in a high wind into their current positions, all in the space of about twenty minutes. The continents have not moved since.

    Fast forward to 12,800 years ago. Humankind had meantime evolved, not in Africa, but in the lowlands between the continents, soon to become the ocean floor. White people evolved in the deeps, and brown people on the upper slopes, because of the relative strength of UV radiation at those elevations. (Jaye does not think much of the hominine fossil record.) Atlantis grew into a mighty civilization in what would become the Atlantic, while Mu flourished in the future Indian Ocean. Apparently, Gobekli Tepe had been founded as well, so there must have been some people living on the continents. Then came the Day of the Comet.

    And no piddling little ordinary comet, either. Jaye’s comet was a 2500-km-wide monster-ball of porous ice, loosely packed around a dense metallic core about 100 km in diameter, with a mass of about 2.88×1015 tonnes. That’s just the core. Jaye estimated the mass of the water frozen into the outer layer at a whopping 1.29×1018 tonnes, enough to fill all those empty lowlands and abysses with meltwater to an average depth of 3.57 km. And that, O Best Beloved, is how the Earth got its oceans. Less than thirteen thousand years ago.

    Mind you, it was not a gentle process. Atlantis and Mu were overwhelmed by the floodwaters, along with all but a few thousand humans. (The people of Gobekli Tepe somehow survived, to record the event.) The Americas were pockmarked with small impact craters where chunks of ice had fallen off the Impact Object (IO) as it fragmented in the atmosphere. The sudden influx of all that meltwater disrupted ecosystems, drove the megafauna to extinction, destroyed forests, and brought about the Younger Dryas cold snap. Yes indeed, this is a version of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, though I somehow doubt other YDIH proponents will thank Jaye for his contribution. This is because it is a breathtakingly stupid idea.

    The evidence that Jaye claims should trump two centuries of geological research is mainly a kind of Google Earth pareidolia. There is a crescent-shape on the border of the Indian and Southern Oceans, between Madagascar and Antarctica, which represents the IO’s massive crater. Little circular or oval formations all down the Americas, particularly in Patagonia, represent the impact of ice fragments in the comet’s wake. A gigantic grid pattern on the Atlantic sea floor northwest of the Canaries represents the wrack of the Plain of Atlantis, devastated in the Deluge.

    Here is Jaye’s scenario: the massive IO started breaking apart as it hit the atmosphere, shedding chunks of ice all the way, and thudded to a halt in the arms of its new crater. The dense metallic core skidded along the seabed for 1000 km, leaving an enormous trough behind it. The size of the crescent reveals the diameter of the IO; the break between the crescent’s two arms indicates that the IO, being porous and fragile, was splitting as it fell. Then all the ice melted, absorbing enough energy to bring about the Younger Dryas cooling event even as it filled the ocean basins from the bottom up.

    There are problems.

    First, the dry, dry antediluvial Earth. Jaye claims his comet delivered 1.29×109 km3 of water. Earth’s total water at the moment (not counting the vast amounts tied up in the core) is about 1.386×109 km3.  This means that Earth had to struggle along for four and a half billion years on 9.6×107 km3, or about 7% of our current holdings, out of which we had to budget for glaciers, ice ages, all those ancient sedimentary seabeds, biogenesis and evolution, the extensive forests and great river systems Jaye mentions, and eventually the needs of advanced pre-Deluge civilizations with huge irrigation systems. He hand-waves away the overwhelming evidence for oceans going back at least four billion years, because all geologists continue to be brainwashed by the ghost of Adam Sedgwick. But—what about the hydrologic cycle? What about salinity? Marine fossils? The sedimentary deposits of ancient seas? Whales? Penguins? And so much more. No, this part of Jaye’s thesis is such folly that one could really stop right there. But I won’t, because I’m something of a masochist.

    Consider the morphology of Jaye’s IO. He informs us confidently that it consisted of a dense metallic core about 100 km in diameter, surrounded by a porous shell of ice about 2500 km across. A comet with a metallic core? A comet that was orders of magnitude larger than anything ever known to come out of the Oort Cloud? This strains credulity even before the IO reaches Earth. But even worse is that Jaye blithely skips over the effects of such a huge mass hitting the Earth at cometary speed. He seems to assume that, since most of the mass was ice/water, and it would break up in the atmosphere, the blow would be cushioned. With a diameter of 2500 km, however, most of it would still be high in the exosphere, still frozen, at the time the leading edge touched down.

    Looking at the two components of the IO separately, Jaye’s figure for the mass of the ice shell works out to 1.29×1018 tonnes. The estimated effect, using Impact:Earth! and figures derived from Jaye’s paper and book, is shown in Fig.1: 1.4×1029 megatons of TNT, a seismic wallop of 14.1 on the Richter scale, and a melt pool larger than the final crater (a phenomenon which has never actually been preserved, since an impact of this magnitude has not taken place since the Late Heavy Bombardment in Earth’s infancy). The ice would not collect in the basin and proceed to melt in a civilized fashion; it would vaporize, along with a hefty chunk of crust.

    But forget about the ice for the moment; the metallic core would make a pretty grand entrance of its own (Fig.2). Using Jaye’s claim of 100 km in diameter and a mass of 2.88 x 1018 kg, this puppy would outmatch the Chicxulub impactor by up to an order of magnitude, and we all know how well the Chicxulub impact turned out. It would also be difficult for the core to leave that tidy 1000-km skidmark along the seafloor, since it too would have vaporized on impact.

    Jaye appears to have derived much of his concept from “new evidence”—that is, the fruits of much diligent poring over Google Earth looking for things that look like things. He even compares Google Earth to Galileo’s telescope:

    As the telescope led to the end of geocentrism, so the new data (e.g. Google Earth) [will] nullify geology’s prevailing paradigm that has us all believing that there was never a worldwide flood.

    Alas, Jaye made some unfortunate choices of things that look like things. His 12,800-year-old crater, for example: the segment on the west is the Crozet Islands, a small volcanic archipelago that began to form over a local hotspot about nine million years ago. The segment on the east is the Kerguelen Plateau, a microcontinent situated on another major hotspot, originating as long as 130 million years ago.

    The “ice-impact craters” down the length of the Americas are a mixed bag. Fig.3 in Jaye’s article shows a nice view of some maars from the Pali Aike volcanic field in Patagonia, which has been active for nearly four million years. Some on his list that I randomly checked out are clearly playa lakes or kettle lakes, or even dugouts, while others are indeterminate from a satellite photo. Nowhere does Jaye justify his claim that they all date from 12,800 years ago.

    Most face-palming of all, Jaye trots out the long-debunked “grid” on the Atlantic seabed west of the Canaries, identifying it as the plains of Atlantis described by Plato. It is not an artefact of a pre-Holocene high civilization; it was an early Google-Maps artefact of combining datasets and images of differing resolutions from different sources, and has now been corrected. The grid is not there. Jaye doesn’t buy that.

    Indeed, Jaye doesn’t buy any geology. He has total confidence in his startling rewrite of Earth’s history—it is the geologists who are practising pseudoscience.  From his website:

    The task remains: how do we get geologists to recognize their error?  Should we treat them with derision? Do we mock them for adhering to an incorrect tenet as if it were religious dogma? I am not sure, but this much is certain – they must recognize their error. They must be asked: Why do you believe there was never a flood? and Do you not recognize the logical error committed by your predecessors?  We must make them reform. We must carry out the task of correcting the most profound error in the history of science.

    Where have we heard this kind of thing before? Well, we hear it all the time from, say, Flat Earthers and Creationists and fringe scholars, the von Danikens and Hancocks and Tsoukaloses of the world. But we’ve also been hearing it from an odd source: qualified, intelligent scientists who are apparently perfectly competent in their own field. We heard it from Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, who presented a pile of columnar andesite as a pre-Holocene pyramid, and wrote a very silly self-published book. We heard it from Martin Sweatman, who constructed an elaborate prehistoric fantasy shored up by ill-conceived statistics, and wrote a very silly self-published book. We hear it now from Michael Jaye, whose work is even loopier than the first two, and who wrote a very silly self-published book.

    Sweatman, in particular, has consistently claimed the academic high ground because he published his theory in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Funnily enough, Jaye also published his theory in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

    Even funnier, it was the same peer-reviewed scientific journal…

    Category: FeaturedScienceSkepticism

    Article by: Rebecca Bradley

    20 comments

    1. Almost too easy to shoot this sitting duck! Yet another triumph for you, especially for finding this one. Applying Sagan’s BS detector to this book, one immediately sees red flags in that it is self-published, and the author feels it necessary to put PhD after his name. Thank you, Rebecca, and please keep on finding these gems.

    2. There are 3 notable journals that are spear-heading the research on YD impact catastrophe. First, there was PNAS, then there was MAA, and recently, and more frequently, Nature. When put in context with them, MAA appears quite reputable, isn’t it ?

      If the Jaye’s article is examined (without reading), it turns out that it stood on the Internet for several months without a single word of complaint. That makes it completely noncontroversial, unopposed, unchallenged. Isn’t that funny ?

      Why did you have to oppose it and start a controversy ? Oh, yes, I suggested the article to you. Why did I do that ? Or better to ask: what do you think what prompted the MAA to publish the Jaye’s article ?

      1. Unchallenged? Or just unnoticed? MAA is hardly a high-profile journal. Are you saying I should NOT have challenged what is clearly arrant nonsense? Do you really find Jaye’s scenario reasonable? And if you’re feeling bad about putting me onto it, dear CV, don’t worry. It came up on two or three other sites I frequent at about the same time.

        1. Unnoticed ? There were at least 2 peers who reviewed it, and they should have noticed something, but they did not. When I posted my question on June 9, Google knew of no opposition, so it was technically unchallenged. Jaye indeed spoke on this years ago on some YD impact forums and I found him mentioning his scenario, but as far as I was willing to read the comments, the only stated opposition was ‘I don’t believe it.’ by one man, which is not an argument against, but a personal opinion. He was simply being ignored, but that is technically the same as being unchallenged. One should give credit to Jaye (in a Guinness book of records) for being able to remain unchallenged on Internet for so long with a peer reviewed article issued on a hot topic with so many fundamental flaws in it.

          Of course the article is nonsense. I was just trying to be ironic. Yet, considering the above stated circumstances, how and why that article passed a peer review remains a legitimate question that deserves a consideration.

          1. Unnoticed by the internet in general 🙂 And your question is a very good one, which I share. How did such a pile of nonsense pass peer review? what does it say about the journal? And what does it say about (ahem) another nonsensical paper which passed peer review in the same journal…? Clearly “peer review” is no longer the automatic guarantee of respectability that it used to be.

            In preparing this, I did of course look at all Jaye’s talks and interviews on youtube and other sites going back about five years. Interestingly, he initially thought the great ocean-delivery-comet landed in about 460,000 BC, or perhaps 60,000 BC (he didn’t seem quite sure). I gather that between 2014 and 2019 he became aware of the YDIH, shouted Eureka! and jumped on the bandwagon. 😀

            1. Sweatman is doing the same. He recently changed his age estimate from 10,950 +/- 250 BC to a +/- 75 years interval to conform more closely to YDIH, but leaves entirely outside the year 10,950 BC. He ignores the fact that I refined his estimate to 10,961 BC +/- 0 years using better astronomical software than he had access to.

            2. One that I personally developed over the course of 7 years of hard programming work. The latest version is not publicly available at the moment, and I wish not to disclose the name of the software publicly, for this would also reveal my identity. However, I might email you some screen shots and diagrams if you care to investigate.

              Basically, it is not a typical planetarium software that displays nice but inaccurate picture, but a robust research tool that was designed to dig deep into the finest details available that can be extracted. Extreme astronomical precision. Sweatman’s sun is outside of the ecliptic with errors of 1-2 degrees, which is why he has 250 a error margin. No such nonsense in my software. Precession moves 50″ per year and that quickly makes a difference.

    3. Regarding your debunking of the article, it can be said that the density which you assumed for the impactor is impossibly low — a Pluto sized object would be having the density of a Pluto, which is 1.854 ±0.006 g/cm3. The gravity would compress so large object into a ball, which is something Jaye is unaware of. Even ordinary small comets are not as light as you typed in, but have 400-700 g/cm3 initially, which might rise to 1 g/cm3 after they have an encounter with a planet.

      The Impact Earth software is approximate and unsuitable for objects of this size — for instance it reports on one menu that the ejecta to your selected position would arrive in 26 minutes, and on the other that your position is inside the fireball! The latter output is correct.

      “A comet with a metallic core?” — With this size it is possible, if not plausible. Think Pluto. It is a planet.
      “A comet that was orders of magnitude larger than anything ever known to come out of the Oort Cloud?”
      — Not exactly. There are true behemoths there. In 1997, Hale-Bopp comet came within the Earth’s orbit at 0.914 AU and caused a shock of disbelief. It was some 40-80 km wide. Apart from that Chiron is 107.8±4.95 km and has several percents chance of being perturbed by Saturn into a short period comet during their next scheduled encounter (in 4650 AD if I recall it correctly ?). Objects of several hundred km in diameter do exist in Kuiper Belt and region is unstable on astronomical scales. what lurks in the distant Oort Cloud is unknown.

      As for the suggested impact scenario, visualize it as a cherry colliding with a peach. Is it really possible for a cherry to be totally meshed into a pulp by the hairs of the skin on a peach, as suggested by Jaye, without even superficially denting the thin skin of a peach, which on a planetary scale would have been representing a 50 km thick solid crust of Earth, underlined by the semi-molten mantle and a solid iron core in the center ?

      Regarding the missing marks on Google images, it should be said that the Google does delete odd underwater geological features automatically. Some of them are indeed photographic errors, but some of them are not. Try finding the 29 km wide Burckle crater on their images (Coordinates: 30°51′54″S 61°21′54″E) if you can ?

      1. The densities: I’m using Jaye’s figures. It’s his scenario we’re testing, not yours. TTBOMK, comets do not come equipped with metallic cores. There may be rocky or rocky-metallic asteroids out in the Oort Cloud (again, it’s Jaye’s scenario we’re talking about), but the body he describes is….unusual, to say the least. There is a bit of a difference between Chiron (about 108 km) and a monster-ball of 2500 km. Not sure about your cherry and peach analogy as far as the kinetic energies would go, but I like the image. 🙂 The Burckle crater is there on Google Earth – it just doesn’t look much like a crater. See https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0be2/ab03e105d1d9f9ec5e6be8394f7f23d2a69c.pdf for the original scholars’ topographic map of the crater’s position.

        1. If density was his number, then it is one more of his errors. 2500 km would be a world on its own, like Pluto, erroneously called a comet by Jake. It might produce a tail, but… As for the metallic cores, it is true that comets do not come with metallic cores, but planetary sized objects of that size might as well underwent some differentiation. Not very likely, but plausible, not impossible. However, Jaye ignores the fact that a lot of material would be organics, aside from water, and that the set of isotopes is different in the inner and outer solar system. For instance, judging by the isotopes of Argon, it can be said that Venus collided with an 800-900 km sized Kuiper Belt object during its formation early on. That collision made it lose any moons that it might have had (a collision of proposed magnitude would also notably affect the solar orbit of Earth and consequently of our Moon, which Jaye again is unaware of). After the collision, Venus became a water world, with twice the content of water that the Earth has, but was also burdened with a heavy load of extra organics that eventually turned into her current hellish atmosphere. Planetary forensics is an interesting science.

          However, if Jaye’s unrealistically light 2500 km object collapses into a ball of physically normal density, which you called ‘my scenario’, then this would yield an object of similar dimensions like that which hit the Venus. At least 50 of those are still known to be out there in the Kuiper Belt, which is dynamically the source of Centaurs. Chiron is the most known Centaur, but not the largest one, and all of the centaurs are in unstable orbits on the scale of several thousands of years. They lurk between the gas giants and on each encounter change their orbits unpredictably. Sometimes outward, sometimes inward.

          Both Chiron and Pluto sized objects would be planet sterilizers if collided with, so there isn’t really much of a difference in terms of the outcome. That is if kinetic energy alone is considered. ~251 MA ago the Earth was hit by a 50 km asteroid on the Antarctic, causing the largest mass extinction event, with ~90% casualties.
          The cherry vs peach analogy is correct, considering the layering and consistency. The hair on a peach is atmosphere of Earth, while the hairless cherry does not have one. If speeds are consistently simulated, the collision would take ~1.5 minutes. Obviously, the Earth’s atmosphere is not much of a shield. The peach hairs could only stop dust particles, and the Earth’s atmosphere can stop asteroids of 10-15 m in diameter. Chelyabinsk impactor was about that size.

          As for the Burckle image, I got a ‘no ciphers overlap’ response when I tried to fetch the pdf. Could you email it to me if it is a good image ? I read an article about it once, but as far as I remember, the crater was fairly well pronounced. Usually though, the articles just give a point on the map, without actually showing the crater on the sea floor.

          1. Yep, I could find no good images. I’ve made a composite of the topo image and the Google Earth image, and I’ll email it to you.

            1. What you sent confirms my claim — the Burckle crater is fully erased from Google maps. By the way, the crater is vaguely elliptical toward NNW, which is not shown on your images.

            2. The images I sent you were just what was in my files – never looked much into Burckle, maybe I should. But what’s there on Google Earth pretty much matches the published description, though I couldn’t find that they had ever published any actual image except the topographical diagram I sent you. What image are you thinking of, that you believe has been erased? Perhaps you’re thinking of the very crater-like formation about 80km north of the published position of Burckle, which Randall Carlson mistakenly used in his lectures? Have a look at -30.014841 61.272824 and tell me what you think.

    4. It’s neverendingly astonishing how otherwise intelligent people can bring out this sort of old tosh. You would think that at some point they would stop and ask themselves why it is they are the only one would sees and understands their latest history changing theory. All the more so when they’re making their pronouncements on a subject they have not specialised in.
      Good work Rebecca. ….er ….. I can’t help but notice your output has been rather sporadic the last while. Ok you’ve got a life beyond this blog, but don’t forget us folks who await each new post.

      1. Oh, Reggie, you’ve made my day. Yes, I’ve been very distracted for a long while (first grandchild, 1000 km move to Edmonton and back again, house endlessly on market), but I had no idea there was anyone actually waiting for me to say something. 🙂

        Yes, I find these highly educated, highly intelligent, highly qualified contrarians very puzzling. It’s as if the Dunning-Kruger Effect requires a PhD in something unrelated in order for its full glory to blossom…

    5. Rebecca,
      You would be far better off reviewing peer review in it’s wider context, rather than attacking one journal, as is the usual starting point for websites of this nature, e.g.

      i) https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124
      ii) https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187394
      iii) https://www.elsevier.com/connect/editors-update/when-reviewing-goes-wrong-the-ugly-side-of-peer-review

      In i) Corollary 3:
      Corollary 3: The greater the number and the lesser the selection of tested relationships in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true.

      Whereas archaeology uses science, it is not in itself a science. So I would invite you to test the credibility of the conclusions reached by the authors of the paper here;

      https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/DB43C9DCF03F2F2B75E487DE0D312B75/S0003598X19000371a.pdf/origins_of_avebury.pdf

      I would suggest to you that Avebury was built because the “genius loci” of the place was far more important than any one person’s dwelling, however elite – much like HS2 is not concerned about the interests of any ownership in its way. But I guess the owner of this “advanced” neolithic dwelling would have been more than adequately compensated for their good fortune in having built it in such a location, subsequently found to be of significant “sacred” status.

      There is no scientific backing to their hypothesis and I would go with Timothy Darvill’s comment, as a starting point:

      “Speaking with George, Timothy Darvill, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University who was not involved in the study, calls the Antiquity paper “interesting” but says that without firm dates for the Avebury megaliths’ construction, “it’s not a clincher.””

      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/stone-circles-avebury-may-have-surrounded-house-neolithic-one-percent-180971974/

      Clearly, even “firm dates” can neither prove nor disprove the hypothesis. It will remain speculation, and imo of the lowest order of credibility. But of course one can’t argue with the highly educated, highly intelligent, highly qualified speculators, as are these archaeological authors – and of course the status of (and the “jobs for the boys” approach of the peer reviewer for) the journal concerned.

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